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Steve Bullman

Best process to finish and treat elm timber

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Been researching this online and there’s a million different ways. Looking for advice on the best process for finishing elm, ie what sandpaper’s to use, and the best oil, wax or lacquer to apply. This will be for a console table and a coffee table so will be reasonably well used.

 

thanks

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4 minutes ago, Steve Bullman said:

Been researching this online and there’s a million different ways. Looking for advice on the best process for finishing elm, ie what sandpaper’s to use, and the best oil, wax or lacquer to apply. This will be for a console table and a coffee table so will be reasonably well used.

 

thanks

Fiddes Wax is a good finish Steve,i did a big old farmhouse table with it years ago and it polished up lovely

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Not used elm much but presuming its much like other timbers I would sand with the grain working through the grades to 240grit. Wipe/brush off all excess dust. Then an oil finish. My preference is Liberon finishing oil but other swear by Osmo. IME Osmo leaves a paler less deep colour but is incredibly easy to apply

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Just now, Woodworks said:

Not used elm much but presuming its much like other timbers I would sand with the grain working through the grades to 240grit. Wipe/brush off all excess dust. Then an oil finish. My preference is Liberon finishing oil but other swear by Osmo. IME Osmo leaves a paler less deep colour but is incredibly easy to apply

Thanks. The wood itself is going to be pretty dark anyway so I don’t think the actual colour the oil leaves is going to be an issue, more the finish it leaves. 

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Osmo poly x.

Sand to as high a grit as you like.

240 is minimum. I usually go to about 400.

Clean.

Apply a thin coat of poly x. Leave to dry,. probably 24 hours depending on temp.

Apply another thin coat.

Leave to dry.

Get a decent soft rag and buff it up.

 

Easiest to apply with a brush if it's waney.

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Elm has interlocking grain which is often quite contorted, so sanding is a better option than planing. I've done several floors-worth of it, milling and through the thicknesser which gets it dimensioned but not smooth unless the blades are absolutely sharp.

 

Do you want a gloss finish, a satin finish or a near-matt finish?

 

Given that it will be a table top, it will inevitably be subject to some wear. I would therefore either go with a hard wearing varnish and accept that it will need occasional sanding off and re-finishing, or sanded in oil (boiled linseed or, for preference, tung, or even Danish). Once you have sanded to remove all marks, apply the oil to the level where the surface is wet, not just damp, and sand it over lengthways at about 240 or 320 grit and then rub the oil/sanding dust slurry in to the surface across the grain using the heel of your hand. This will fill the grain. A couple of goes at this 24hrs apart if outdoors, 12hrs apart if indoors, followed by a couple more coats simply wiped on with a cloth will give a solid finish which is easy to wax over, and if it ever gets damaged you just need to clean off with turps or a furniture restoration cleaner and put another coat of oil over. Danish oil can go on thicker and doesn't necessarily need the wax.

 

Alec

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I used a few coats of walnut  oil on some tool handles I made from oak  as I had it to hand.

 

It  was from middle of  lidl, sold as a cooking oil.

 

Came up nice didn't darken the wood at all but  it left a nice finish, and they do sell/use it as a wood finishing oil....

 


I get asked a lot of questions about woodturning and what is the best oil for treating wood is one of the most common so...

 

 

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Osmo top on this bit of elm over 10 years back and it's not needed any thing since IMG_1985.jpg

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37 minutes ago, Stere said:

I used a few coats of walnut  oil on some tool handles I made from oak  as I had it to hand.

 

It  was from middle of  lidl, sold as a cooking oil.

 

Came up nice didn't darken the wood at all but  it left a nice finish, and they do sell/use it as a wood finishing oil....

 


I get asked a lot of questions about woodturning and what is the best oil for treating wood is one of the most common so...

 

 

I do like walnut oil and have used it in the past, but got slightly wary when I found that people who are allergic to nuts can also be triggered by the oil. I decided that since I couldn't be certain who might touch something in the future and there were other options I would stick to them, so tend to use linseed or tung now instead.

 

Alec

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